Six-Year Gambling Case Ends
By staff
North Carolina video game operator Fred Collins has agreed to settle with three former gamblers who sued him six years ago to recoup their losses.

Jim Bannister, who helped represent Collins, said the suit had been through four courts and two trials and was likely to be appealed.

'All parties agreed this would not have been the last legal proceeding,' he said. 'It made legal sense to just end it today.'

The settlement ends a six-year lawsuit that began as a class action case filed against 48 video poker operators by former gamblers who claimed video gambling operators fed their addictions by offering illegal payouts.

All of the operators but Collins and his firm settled. Seven gamblers initially were named in Collins' suit, but four had dropped out since the first trial, which ended in a mistrial after jurors were unable to agree on a verdict. Collins' second trial started last week.

The suit accused Collins, who once owned one of every six of the state's video poker machines, of enticing gamblers with jackpots far more than the then-legal payout limit of $125 a day.

Collins justified payouts on his machines, saying there were stickers on the machines that warned of the payout limit.

The judge had repeatedly characterized the suit as among the most difficult of his career. His order to dismiss was his 191st order in the case, he said.

'I'm delighted this last case has been put to an end,' Judge Joe Anderson said.

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